Friday, June 18, 2010

Day One

We're excited to be starting Is Local Enough? this morning with a session on Farms, Policy, and Identity featuring Matthew Hoffman, Dale Potts, and Christopher Carden.

Tonight's public roundtable will feature Brian Donahue, Amy Trubek, Mateo Kehler, and John Carroll talking about A Vision for a Healthy Food Culture and Sustainable Farming in New England.

For a complete program, visit Sterling College's Rural Heritage Institute webpage.

And visit this page again throughout the Institute for updates.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Registration Now Open!

We're very excited to announce that registration is now open for this year's Rural Heritage Institute: Is Local Enough? Promises and Limits of Local Action from June 18-20 at Sterling College in Craftsbury Common, Vermont.

Are there limits to local thinking?

What is the relationship between rural and local? 

What is the role of local knowledge in an age of globalization?

Join us at Sterling College in Craftsbury Common, Vermont from June 18th - 20th for Is Local Enough? Promises and Limits of Local Action to explore these questions as well as the developing dialogue between local and global concerns as it applies to economy, agri culture, history, food, culture and rural identity.

Part of the third annual Rural Heritage Institute, Is Local Enough?, will include a diverse range of workshops, presentations and fea tured events.  Located at the heart of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, the Institute capitalizes on the model of community and experiential learning at the center of the Sterling College curriculum and apparent throughout the surrounding communities.

Featured Presentations

Film showing and discussion Under the Cloak of Darkness: Vermont’s Migrant Mexican Farm Workers with Chris Urban and Erin Shea

Listen Globally, Sing Locally: Traditional Folk Music in Rural Vermont with Pete Sutherland

A Vision for Healthy Food Culture and Sustainable Farming in New England – Brian Donahue (author of American Georgics: Readings in American Agrarianism; The Great Meadow: Farmers and the Land in Colonial Concord; Reclaiming the Commons: Community Farms and Forests in a New England Town) and Mateo Kehler, owner of Jasper Hill Farm and The Cellars at Jasper Hill.

The Ways of the Woods Exhibit from The Northern Forest Center.

Selected Presentations & Workshops

Local Sustainability and Worldwide Movements

Small Farms and Agricultural Policy

Decentralizing Power:  Secession as a Path to Sustainability

Voices from the Fields and the Barnlot

Telling our Stories: Getting to the Heart of What Matters Most in Communities

Bioregional Cosmopolitanism: Reasserting the Local, Reimagining the Global

Local Democracy Unbound:  A Hopeful Narrative

Reading and Writing the Rural Landscape

Nature and Culture in the Northern Forest

Local Fiber, Dyeing, and Clothing

Migrant Workers, Local Agriculture, and Traditional Foods

Listen Globally, Sing Locally: Traditional Folk Music in Rural Vermont

To register or for more information, please visit the Sterling College website and download the registration form. 

Monday, February 15, 2010

Call for Proposals: Updated & Extended Deadline


Is Local Enough?
Promises and Limits of Local Action

An ASLE affiliated symposium

The Third Annual Rural Heritage Institute at Sterling College

June 17-20, 2010
Sterling College
Craftsbury Common, VT

Are there limits to local thinking? What is the relationship between rural and local? What is the role of local knowledge in an age of globalization? How are rural regions across the world implicated in global issues?

Panel, workshop, presentation, and roundtable proposals are solicited for Is Local Enough? Promises and Limits of Local Action from June 17th-20th at Sterling College in Craftsbury Common, Vermont. Part of Sterling's annual Rural Heritage Institute, this event will explore the developing dialogue between local and global concerns as it applies to economy, agriculture, history, food, culture, and rural identity.

Located at the heart of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, Is Local Enough? capitalizes on the model of community and experiential learning at the center of the Sterling College curriculum and apparent throughout the surrounding communities.

Each year, The Rural Heritage Institute draws participants who are passionate about solidifying the connections among community, academic scholarship, and meaningful action in the field. The intimate atmosphere of the Institute (between 50-75 participants) enables productive conversations among a broad range of practitioners, scholars, community members, and under/graduate students who share an interest in exploring the intersections of local, regional, and global issues – particularly as manifested in the rural Northeast.

Is Local Enough? Promises and Limits of Local Action will be filled with four days of workshops, field sessions, seminar panels, roundtables, presentations, featured speakers, and hands-on experiences.

You are invited to submit proposals for this immersive and interdisciplinary Institute in areas including (but not limited to):
  • Bioregionalism
  • Local Action
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Glocalism
  • Farmstead and Folk Arts
  • Traditional Foodways
  • The Rural Artisan
  • The Northern Forest
  • Globalization
  • Regional Identity
  • Rural Literature
  • Mapping Place
  • Oral History and Community Memory
  • Local and Regional Economies
  • New Economy Agriculture
  • Radical Consumption
  • Slow Food
  • Gender and Rural Identity
  • Agrarianism
  • Cottage Industries
  • The Rhetoric of Place
  • Community-Based Food Systems
  • Rural Ethnic Traditions
  • Sense of Place

Please send one-page proposals to Pavel Cenkl at Sterling College at by March 12, 2010

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Our Brush with Richard Branson: Sustainable Agriculture Rises to a New Level

Earlier this year, Sterling College placed two recent grads, Angie Revallo and Ben Mackie (giving tractor driving pointers to Sir Richard in the photo) at Natirar’s Culinary Center, Ninety Acres, in a collaborative effort with Rutgers University, to achieve agricultural authenticity and develop the Farm to Fork model for sustainable agriculture.

Take the international influence of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin trademark, a 100-year old estate in central New Jersey, newly minted organic farmers from northern Vermont, and a culinary school and you get the exciting beginnings of a farm-to-cooking school-to-table resort enterprise—The Farm at Natirar.

Named for the number of acres of land leased from Somerset County, Ninety Acres Culinary Center consists of a restaurant, cooking school, and a working farm complete with livestock and herb gardens.

It is no surprise that recent graduates of Sterling are very proficient at using the tools and skills they learned on campus in today’s “real world." Natirar discovered this first hand when Angela Revallo and Benjamin Mackie joined the development team. Both graduates of Sterling’s class of 2009, Angie and Ben were hired as Natirar’s full–time farmers and have begun strategically planning and implementing the farms, gardens, and livestock programs on the property. They are supported in this massive undertaking, not only by the professors and administrators that taught them during their years as undergraduates in Vermont, but also by the faculty at Rutgers NJAES and the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences who are right in the “backyard” of their new home in New Jersey.

Natirar is collaborating with both Sterling College, Vermont, and the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, NJAES, both units of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Building an Agricultural Economy

From Eating Well (July/August 2009):

An illustrated map of one rural foodie town.

By David Goodman, for EatingWell, July/August 2009

Here, in a tiny corner of northern Vermont where cattle seem to outnumber people, farms and food businesses are blossoming and garnering both national and international attention. Their secret? Collaboration. Here’s how it works.

(1) Claire’s Restaurant—Two years ago, more than 100 locals bought shares to help start a “locavore” restaurant in Hardwick, recently named one of the top “up and coming” restaurants in the U.S. Down the road in Morrisville, locals loved “their” restaurant so much they chipped in to support (2) The Bee’s Knees when it needed a cash infusion.

Both restaurants source most of their ingredients locally, including cornmeal and other grains from (3) Butterworks Farms, which also produces yogurt and is part of (4) Pete’s Greens CSA. Though Pete’s Greens is best known for the organic baby greens it once sold to trendy restaurants in Boston and New York, today half its business comes from its Good Eats CSA, which bundles everything—from its own greens to bread and bacon made by other local producers—and delivers it to some 250 neighboring members.

When (5) High Mowing Organic Seeds, one of the country’s largest purveyors of organic seeds, had a surplus of pumpkin, it went to the Pete’s Greens kitchen to be made into pies that were given to the local food bank. High Mowing Organic Seeds founder Tom Stearns is the president of the (6) Center for an Agricultural Economy, a not-for-profit founded by (7) Vermont Soy entrepreneur Andrew Meyer with the goal of building a sustainable community around food and agriculture.

You can find the best products of the region—ranging from seeds to soy—at the (8) Buffalo Mountain Co-op, one of the oldest in the country. It’s also a good place to pick up lamb and sheep’s-milk cheeses from (9) Bonnieview Farms and other cheeses from (10) Ploughgate Creamery, (11) Cabot Creamery and (12) Jasper Hill Farm, whose 22,000-square-foot cave (said to be the finest in the U.S.) ages many of the region’s award-winning cheeses.

Two agricultural-education centers complete the circle, with (13) Sterling College sending many of its students to work on farms and (14) Highfields Institute focusing on composting and providing sustainable solutions for many of the neighboring farms and businesses.

So, a squash grown from High Mowing Organic seeds in the greenhouses at Pete’s Greens might be harvested by a Sterling College student and then served at Claire’s. Claire’s leftovers might be composted at Highfields Institute, then returned to fertilize High Mowing Organic Seeds’s land.

Please visit Eating Well for more information about the Hardwick area and for free locally sourced recipes.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Farm and Food Reading List and Resources

The following is a bibliography from Clark Wolf's keynote presentation. These books, articles, and web resources are a great place to start a more thorough exploration of Food, Farms, and Community. Another wonderful reading list can be found at the Greenhorns' blog.

Books & Articles
Adler, Jerry. “Finding Meaning in Each Mouthful.” Newsweek. 28 January 2008. 48.

Brady, Diane. “The Organic Myth.” Business Week. 16 October 2006.

Baker, M. Sharon. “Buying the Farm.” Nation’s Restaurant News. 7 April 2008.

Barrionuevo, Alexei. “Salmon Virus Indicts Chile’s Fishing Methods.” NY Times. 27 March 2008.

Bridges, Andrew. “Imported Food Rarely Inspected.” USA Today. 16 April 2007.

Brown, Tom. “Food Processors Ask State For Regulations on Toxins In Fertilizer.” Seattle Times. 23 July 1997.

Cohn, Jeffrey P. “The International Flow of Food: FDA Takes on Growing Responsibility for Food Safety.” FDA Consumer. Jan-Feb 2001

Coleman, Eliot. “Beyond Organic.” Four Season Farm.

Fackler, Martin. “Mercury Taint Divides a Japanese Whaling Town.” 21 February 2008.

Gay, Lance. “Americans are tossing $100 Billion of Food a Year.” Organic Consumers Association. 10 August 2005.

Grescoe, Taras. “Opinion: How To Handle an Invasive Species? Eat it.” NY Times. 20 Feb. 2008.

Halweil, Brian. “Change on the Horizon: A Scan of the American Food System.” Worldwatch Institute. Feb. 2005.

Harris, Keecha. “Community Implications: Food Programs, Policies, and Access Issues.” New Perspectives on Food Security. Glynwood Center. 2005. 113-115.

Harvie, Jamie. “Redefining Healthy Food: An Ecological Health Approach to Food Production, Distribution, and Procurement.” The Center for Health Design.

Hirshberg, Gary. “Response to a cover story in Business Week magazine referring to Stonyfield Farm” 19 October 2006.

Knox, Richard. “Dangers of the Global Food System.” NPR Morning Edition. 25 May, 2007. Transcript.

Leonard, Rod. “Losing Control of U.S. Food Safety.” Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. Nov. 2007.

Lotter, Don. “On the Path to Bird-Friendly Coffee.” Rodale Institute.
9 Dec. 2004.

McConahey, Meg. “Branding Sonoma.” The Press Democrat. 4 Nov. 2007.

Milano, Jessica. “Policy Report: Spoiled: Keeping Tainted Food Off America’s Tables.” Progressive Policy Institute. 7 Sept. 2007.

Muhlke, Christine “American Pastoral.” New York Times Magazine, June 7, 2009

Mulcahy, Mark. “Yes We Have No (Conventional) Bananas: The Case for Buying Organic.” Natural Foods Merchandiser. July 1997.

Mundell, E.J. “U.S. Food Safety: The Import Alarm Keeps Sounding.” US News and World Report. Jan.15 2008.

Peterson, Diane. “Hog Wild.” The Press Democrat. 27 Feb. 2008.

Pollan, Michael. “The Way We Live Now: Our Decrepit Food Factories.” NY Times. 16 Dec. 2007.

Pollan, Michael. “Weed it and Reap.” NY Times. 4 Nov. 2007. Online

Ruhlman, Michael. “The Way We Eat: Friends with Benefits.” NY Times Magazine. 9 March 2008. 67-8.

Salatin, Joe. “Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal.” Acres: A Voice for Agriculture. Sept. 2003. Vol. 33,No. 9.

Schmit, Julie. “US Food Imports Outrun FDA Resources.” USA Today. 18 March 2007.

Streitfeld, David. “As Prices Rise, Farmers Spurn Conservation Program.” NY Times. 9 April 2008.

Stutchbury, Bridget. “Opinion: Did Your Shopping List Kill a Songbird?” NY Times. 30 March 2008.

Wallinga, David, Navis Bermudez, and Edward Hopkins. “Poultry on Antibiotics: Hazards to Human Health.” Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. Dec. 2002.

Weise, Elizabeth. “Support from city folk takes root on the farm.” USA Today 5 November 2005

Wilson, Duff. “Fear in the Fields.” Seattle Times. 3 July 1997.

Wilson, Duff. “Experts: How to Reduce Risk.” Seattle Times. 4 July 1997.

Zinczenko, David. “Feeding the Obesity Epidemic.” USA Today. 25 March 2008. 11A.

“Editorial: The World Food Crisis.” NY Times. 10 April 2008.

“Editorial: Tuna Troubles.” NY Times. 24 January 2008.

“Editorial: Shrimp and Mischief.” NY Times. 21 July 2004.

“Editorial: The Biggest Beef Recall Ever.” NY Times. 21 Feb. 2008.

“Editorial: Protecting All Waters.” NY Times. 7 March 2008.

Restaurant Spending.” National Restaurant Association.

“High-Grain Cattle Diets Cause Antibiotics Need.” Reuters. 22 May 2001.

“Everything I Cook Is Good.” Newsweek. 25 February 2008. 14.

Antibiotic Resistance and Agricultural Overuse of Antibiotics.” Going Green: A Resource Kit for Pollution Prevention in Health Care. 2 July 2004.

Prescription drugs found in drinking water across 10 March 2008.

Recommended Reading

Berry, Wendell. The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. 1977.

Imhoff, Dan. Food Fight: A Citizen’s Guide to the Farm Bill. Healdsburg, CA: Watershed Media. 2007.

Kingsolver, Barbara, Camille Kingsolver and Steven L. Hopp. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. New York: Harper Collins. 2007.

Nestle, Marion. Food Politics, new revised edition. Berkeley: University of California Press. 2007.

Pollan, Michael. The Botany of Desire: A Planet’s-Eye View of the World. New York: Random House. 2002.

Pollan, Michael. The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. New York: Penguin. 2006.

Other Resources
Local Harvest

Sustainable Agriculture

American Farm Land Trust

Chez Panisse Foundation

Farm to College

The Farm School

The Food Project/BLAST Youth Initiative

Food Systems Network NYC (FSNYC)

Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

New Haven Ecology Project


The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont

Sterling College

Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)

The Tufts School of Nutrition - Northeast Food Systems Partnership

University of Maine Sustainable Agriculture Program

University of Massachusetts Extension Vegetable Program
State Extension Service.

University of New Hampshire Office of Sustainability

University of Vermont Farms

Wholesome Wave Foundation

Wolfe’s Neck Farm

Yale University Sustainable Food Project

Monday, June 22, 2009

How to smeare a Rabbet or a necke of Mutton

From the workshop "Cooking with Historical Texts" with Ken Albala:

How to smeare a Rabbet or a necke of Mutton

Take a Pipkin, a porenger of water, two or three spoonefuls of Vergis, ten Onions clean pilled, and if they be great quarter them, mingle as much Pepper and salte as will season them, and rub it upon the meat, if it be a rabbit: put a piece of butter in the beliye and a piece in the broth, and a few Curraans if yon wil, stop your pot close and sieth it with a softe fier but no fier under the bottome, then when it is soden serve it in upon soppes and lay a few Berberies upon the dishe.

Thanks to Ulla Kjarval for the photo.